Tag Archives: Thorn

Today was a day for breaking records #cycling

Sure, nobody except me will be proud of these, but…

  • Today I cleaned Bluebell for the second time this year! And yes, it was raining at the time, she didn’t mind though. I even cleaned her chain with the fancy chain cleaning gizmo that I never bother to use, I can see why I never bother with the faffy thing.
  • Today was only the second time I have bought anything cycling related this year (total spend on cycling this year is only £64)
I can definitely say that Bluebell is very low maintenance and cost, so long as you keep the Rohloff oil changes as they advise and also occasionally check oil levels to make sure you don’t run dry. The only semi-regular maintenance she needs is brake tweaks (as they wear), chain oil and eccentric bottom bracket tweaks (as the chain wears).
I sometimes dream of a super speedy road bike, but I know I’m too busy / lazy to maintain it, so I will keep Bluebell and not needlessly waste money on some fragile carbon money-pit.
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A new chainring and pedal reflectors, yes, you heard me. #cycling

Lastly, firstly, pedal reflectors are a legal requirement in the UK, other than that, I think they are worthwhile, they can’t do any harm. Don’t be fooled though, reflectors give people false hope, get decent lights, spend a lot of money on them and be safe. Pedal reflectors won’t help when the vehicle’s windows are misted up or it’s a rainy day. Only bright lights will penetrate that.

But anyway… I was down to my last one, they keep breaking, falling off etc. So I bought some new bolt on ones, let’s see how long they last.

Now, the highlight, a brand spanking new Thorn chainring, 48T and reversible (eat that derailleur lovers):

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Notice how clean Bluebell is compared with normal? I treated her to a clean not so long ago 🙂

Also, note the black oil marks are on alternate teeth, bonus points if you can guess why this is? Wow, cycling trivia, almost.

And for comparison old against new:

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Extra trivia, is the original (on top) a reversible chainring and explain why 🙂

New 55mm SKS mudguards for Bluebell, ready for the winter tyres #cycling

The SKS mudguards I had on Bluebell (my Thorn Raven Sport Tour) didn’t give enough clearance for my Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres. Last winter I tried to ride without mudguards, but it’s just nasty and I’m too lazy to clean my frame every ride, so the frame was beyond my normal dirty threshold.

This year I decide to get bigger mudguards.
Simple? No, fitting mudguards is a pain!
First I had to drill a hole through the rear one so I could bolt through it into the mount point.
Then swap tyres to make sure I had it adjusted correctly, turns out my inner tube was on its last legs, so it fizzled flat, tyre off, spare tube fitted and I was back in business

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Wow, this photo really shows the filth behind the v-brake and some rust on the cable retainer, it looks better in real life 🙂

The front was even more tricky, the fancy rubber thing on the front of the guard had to come off, it just rubbed the 1.75″ studded tyre, there’s very little clearance!

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Then I had to mount it further around than the bracket it is pre fitted with, fortunately I didn’t have to remove the original, which is the normal thing to do, instead I just used the sliding bridge (bracket) that would have been used on the read mudguard.

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Which seems to be a far easier solution to drilling out rivets, drilling new holes then bolting the original bracket back on.

Final things to do are:
1) Hacksaw off the extra metal from the mudguard stays, I keep thinking I’ll leave them, but then I also keep catching my legs on them (not while riding)
2) Give them a real test when the weather gets wintery enough for ice tyres

I’ll post an update if everything goes wrong, otherwise assume they work perfectly and I’m happily enjoying the foul weather.

Letting mummy get a rest #cycling

Getting credit for going on a ride doesn’t happen often, but a tired mummy can often surprise you.
We had a lovely ride to the duck pond, 17 miles at 12 MPH. There is a climb between home and the duck pond, which is fine on Bluebell because of the wide gear range at my disposal, but it impacts the average speed somewhat.
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I managed to get a photo without any geese of ducks, I’m sure the lake was full when we arrived 🙂

When we got nearer home I diverted to the swings, he enjoyed them, but he was very quiet. When I got him home he was in a deep sleep for some time, mummy was happy!

On the ride we were overtaken (separately) by a couple of guys on road bikes, each commented on how fast I was going. On the flat and once up to speed I don’t notice the Burley that much, but 4 MPH below my normal cruising speed is a fair amount.

After weeks of waiting, I finally fix up bluebell #cycling

For this I needed a new crank puller (a.k.a. extractor, Park Tool CCP-22):20130511-105542.jpg
And a new crankset (unbranded):20130511-105612.jpg
The crankset was recommended as the current replacement by SJS. Replacing the chainrings with the single chainring I already had on the old crankset.
The crank puller seems OK, though I don’t rate it above my last one, maybe equal to it. Anyway it worked twice which is all I needed. Important is to always remember to grease both threads and the tip of it, since the tip will be grinding against metal.
Here’s one side done, baby started crying that was all I managed that evening:20130511-151649.jpg
It’s also worth noting that I grease the bottom bracket axle before putting the new crank on, grease the crank bolt and give it a good tighten if you want it to remain in place. Greasing the axle is meant to decrease the corrosion that can happen between the steel axle and the alloy crank. Similarly greasing pedal threads is a must, which i forgot last time, hence the beginning of the problems I had. There are those that disagree which bits to grease, I sometimes change my mind, but I’ve had more problems by not greasing than by greasing.
After removing the RHS crank I need to swap the chainrings from new to old:20130511-153459.jpg
He’s the finished result:20130511-153521.jpg
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The hawk eyed reader will note that my chainring is not reversible and is getting on in age (miles), when the teeth are like razor blades I’ll swap it, a derailleur setup would need this replacing already, my chain is 1% worn according to my chain wear indicator, I’ll replace that at nearer 2% probably, again derailleur owners would need to replace now.
The finished RHS:20130511-154408.jpg
While I was shopping for the above I also bought a saddle, Maddison Prime:20130511-154815.jpg
Here’s it fitted, note the road profile of it and the fancy ruler for elite setup:20130511-154824.jpg
I just stick it in the middle, angle the nose up a tiny fraction and that’s fine. Maybe I’ll fiddle with it in future, but I tend not to notice much difference. It’s definitely harder than my last saddle, but doesn’t seem to bother me yet as my cycling distances are tiny now I work closer to home and have a baby that takes up my cycling time.
That was that for that night, the next evening I did an oil change and tightened my mudguard bolts (Surrey roads rattle them loose). Next morning I’m all set for commuting again:
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What a lovely steel machine she is.

Lowlights for a change #cycling

This week started with a broken saddle:
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I replaced it and wanted to swap to better pedals too, turns out the old crankset I recently fitted is past it because the threads are corroded and stripping away.
So I’m now riding Rudy while I decide what crankset to buy… square taper 110 BCD 5 arm 170mm triple Thorn branded crankset was what I had before, but shimano hollotech has been recommended as a reasonably priced set, the downside is that I’ll need to buy another tool, it won’t be interchangeable with my other bikes, etc. It is worth pointing out that trying to read specs and compare crankset / chainsets is difficult because they often quote random mm measurements and not always the ones your looking for.

Today’s ride ended badly, half a mile from home (after the big hill) the police had blocked the road, I had to then go back over the hill and in a 5 mile loop to get home. I could barely walk when I got home. Numb bum to say the least. Sooo painful, I clearly don’t use those muscles and now can’t bend or sit down. Other than that I enjoyed Rudy and the chilled out ride. The local girls / teens in the park shouted “cool bike”, so there we are, Rudy is cool, even if I am not. Oh and my mudguard is loose, mirror is split and not long left on this earth and heaps more going wrong and we’re not even half way through.

Burley finally fitted to Bluebell #cycling

My Burley Rohloff problem:20130126-231527.jpg
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So that was the standard hitch that came with it. It fits my Nexus bike well, but as you can see the Rohloff cables are fouled by it on Bluebell (Thorn Raven Sport Tour).

The gear range on the Nexus isn’t good enough for pulling the baby up hills, so I have been desperately trying to find some way to use Bluebell instead.

Lots of guesswork and a couple of purchases later and we’re sorted:
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The skewer is now on the other side and half of the hitch remains on my bike:
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Guesswork? Well, it wasn’t obvious (to me at least) which parts I needed, but the gamble paid off.

Now to find time to take on my nearest hill with baby in tow (however unimpressive it may be to some), especially now the snow down here has gone.